Grand Opening of New Calvin Coolidge Exhibit

A new permanent exhibit that examines the life and times of President Calvin Coolidge will open August 6 at the 30th President’s state historic site and childhood home in Vermont.

The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation will host the exhibit’s grand opening on Plymouth Old Home Day at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gov. Peter Shumlin, Coolidge family members, and state officials will be among the honored guests at the opening of “Calvin Coolidge: His Life & Legacy” at the President Calvin Coolidge Museum & Education Center at 10 a.m.

“Calvin Coolidge embodied a respect for this beautiful state and the deeply-rooted pragmatism that present day Vermonters revere and endeavor to sustain,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin. “Visitors to Plymouth Village truly understand how this place shaped the man and why it remained so important to him throughout his life.”

“Calvin Coolidge: His Life & Legacy” will include interactive features, historic newsreels, a voice recognition station and a holographic image. The Division for Historic Preservation has worked closely over the past several months with Media-FX, a Montreal -based design firm noted for its innovative, interpretive displays.

The grand opening and Plymouth Old Home Day will continue with building tours and performances by pianist Abigail Charbeneau and the Green Mountain Brass Band. Also on exhibit this season is “First Pets: The Coolidge White House Animals,” which reveals the important role animals played in the private life and public image of the Coolidge family.

Plymouth Old Home Day, which dates back to the early 20th century, unites town organizations in a fun-filled festival of historic music, traditional craft and farm demonstrations, wagon rides and culinary treats. Activities will include:

* Old-time children’s games, apple head doll making with Susan Remington, Native American artifact tent from the Chimney Point State Historic Site

* Cart rides with Zandor the dog

* Wagon rides and sheep shearing with Fred DePaul

* Chicken barbecue and bake sale to benefit the Plymouth Volunteer Fire Department

* Home-style cooking at the Wilder House Restaurant

* Cheese making at the Plymouth Cheese Factory

* Vermont artisans – Fiber Arts in Vermont (demonstrating creative fiber arts – weaving, spinning, knitting, etc.), Heritage Weaving (rag rugs), Irene Ames (basket making), Carolyn Guest (silhouettes & fancy paper cutting), Marianne Fassett (paper quilling), Black River Academy Museum (chair caning)

* Old-time fiddler Adam Boyce

* Special exhibits by the Plymouth Historical Society and Vermont State Parks

* Vintage automobiles on display

Plymouth Old Home Day is the great opportunity to explore Plymouth Notch, considered one of the best-preserved presidential sites in the country. Twelve buildings are open to the public including the Coolidge Homestead, Coolidge Birthplace, general store, village church, cheese factory (still making cheese using the original 1890 recipe), and 1924 Summer White House office. An outstanding collection of early agricultural equipment is displayed in the Wilder Barns.

For more information about Plymouth Old Home Day and the grand opening of the new Coolidge exhibit, call 802-828-3051 or visit

Vermont: New Calvin Coolidge Museum Opens

A new museum and education center at the childhood home of the only U.S. President born on the Fourth of July has been officially opened. The President Calvin Coolidge Museum & Education Center was dedicated by Vermont Governor Jim Douglas- members of Vermont’s congressional delegation- and descendents of the president nicknamed “Silent Cal” at a ceremony on Saturday.

“This museum is a fitting tribute to our nation’s 30th President, and a testament to how his early experiences in Plymouth Notch shaped John Calvin Coolidge,” Douglas said, noting that Coolidge’s quiet, reserved demeanor was fodder for humorists of his day.

“But it is his modesty and restraint in governing – virtues that came to be associated with his frugal, pragmatic Vermont upbringing – that are now the object of much discussion,” Douglas said, noting that Coolidge was undergoing a “renaissance” in historic and political circles.

The building will have new space for permanent and temporary exhibits- a new gift shop- a large special function room- a classroom- and offices in the lower level for the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation and their small library.

The project cost just over $2 million, with roughly a third of that coming from the foundation and the rest from the state. Coolidge was the last president to serve before the practice of constructing federally-funded presidential libraries began.

The ceremony took place as part of Plymouth Old Home Day, a long-standing tradition in the tiny hamlet, which is preserved much as it was since Coolidge was vacationing here as vice president when he received word of the untimely death of President Warren Harding in August, 1923.

At approximately 2:47 a.m. on August 3, 1923, by the light of a kerosene lamp, notary public Colonel John Coolidge administered the oath of office to his son.

The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, which owns and operates the Coolidge Site, has planned a number of other special events this season including the Plymouth Folk & Blues Concerts on September 4 and 5, and Plymouth Cheese & Harvest Festival on September 19.

Also returning this year are the popular Grace Coolidge Musicales, concerts set for August 8, September 12, and October 3 at the site.

A National Historic Landmark, Plymouth Notch is considered one of the best-preserved presidential sites in the country.

Twelve buildings are on the tour- the site is open through October 17, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily.

For further information, contact the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, (802) 672-3773, or visit

19th Cent. Sliding Toys Donated to Coolidge House

The unique one-ski sit-down sled at left is an antique “jack jumper” from the 19th century. It looks like a stool bolted to a single ski – is one of two antique sliding toys recently donated to Vermont’s President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site by a local woman. The jack-jumper was a fairly radical ride for it’s time according to museum officials who said there was no way to steer, except to shift your body and hang on. The jack-jumper is one of two early sleds donated by Miriam Herwig of Randolph Center that will be used in the Coolidge site’s educational programs to show what Vermont children did for winter fun before the advent of skiing and snowboarding.

The other sled, called a traverse (below, right), was made for multiple passengers and originally belonged to Charles Adams, a descendent of Luther Adams who built the first floating bridge in Brookfield, Vermont. More than eight feet long with pivoting wooden runners steered by a rope, the red wooden traverse was used at the Normal School in Randolph in the 1880s.

The jack jumper has traces of old red paint on the seat and pedestal and the initials “GHW” appear on the side of the pedestal, carved there by its original owner, George Woodward of Williamstown, who was a friend of Herwig’s father.

The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation maintains the village of Plymouth Notch much as it was when Calvin Coolidge was a boy and curates the largest collection of artifacts associated with President Coolidge and his family.

The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site is open May 29 through October 17, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The site office, located in the Aldrich House, is open most weekdays year-round and has exhibits especially designed for winter visitors.

The snow-covered hillsides surrounding the village are perfect for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, or even jack jumping.

For further information, call (802) 672-3773 or visit the state-owned historic sites online at